Eye of the Beholder

A Hearst heiress claims Cosmo is porn. But is it? Other than the tops of SJP's tits runningeth over, I didn't find the cover ... pornographic, per se. Inside, there were lots of ads. They may have exhibited the pornography of women, but I didn't find them to be ... porn. The front of the book was mostly: fashion, OMG hot actors, and stuff to do/read/smear on your face. There was a beauty image featuring a Darth Vader mask wearing a pink satin sleeping mask, which some Star Warsians might find offensive, but I don't think they would find it particularly titillating. Questions answered involved: how to style your hair better, how to get tan, how to minimize pores. One two-page spread wondered: "Are you a Kendall or a Kylie?" (Why can't I be both?) The back of the book had feature stories on: a young woman who had liver cancer, a model with vitiligo, the cast of the "hip-hopera" Hamilton. It wasn't until page 163 of the issue's 212 pages that things got, well, randy. In a photo, a hand held a cob of corn aloft. "Long Live the Hand Job?!" the headline crowed, confused. The piece was written by Tracy Clark-Flory, who's a friend of mine, and its point is really about love, not sex. The following pages host a personal essay about a woman who slept with a male model and lived to regret it: "Suddenly, the sight of his well-sculpted body was the last thing I wanted to see." Most of the rest of the sexy content was helpful, seemingly written for those who are still trying to figure it all out. Victoria Hearst is finding success in her attempts to get store copies of Cosmo covered up because, in her mind, it's "pornography." But it didn't seem to be porn to me. It seemed like it was a product that was created to meet a demand. Young women want to understand their sexuality, and it appears there are too few outlets for them to do it. So, there's Cosmo, leading the way.